After being down by 18 in the third quarter, the Boilermakers fought back to make the game close but were ultimately unsuccessful in their comeback rally to lose in Evanston against Northwestern by a score of 61-56.
It was a close game throughout the first half until the Wildcats went on a 14-3 run to take a 7 point lead into halftime. After the break Northwestern went on ANOTHER 14-3 run to start the second half to extend the lead to 18 by a score of 27-45. The Boilermakers made a comeback bid and cut the lead to only 2 when junior Lindsey Whilby hit a big three with 2:43 left in the fourth quarter. Northwestern escaped with the win after some clutch baskets and free throws.
Leading Purdue in scoring was junior Jenelle Grant who has started 2 straight games after the knee injury that will sideline Tamara Farquhar for the season. She put up 16 points on 7-16 shooting and added 4 rebounds.
Another big performer was Dominique Oden who dropped 14 points on 6-9 shooting while also pulling down 6 boards. She was the team’s most consistent scoring option on the day with most of the team struggling from the field.
The usually reliable senior Ae’Rianna Harris struggled mightily today as she went just 3-15 from the field to score 8 points, but she made her presence felt in other aspects of the game as she had 3 steals, 3 blocks and 14 rebounds.
Karissa McLaughlin did not shoot as much and normal against Northwestern as she went 3-8 from the field which included two makes from deep on her way to scoring 8 points.
In a battle of two great defensive teams, the Boilers shot 36% from the field (22-61), and hit 6 of 13 from three point range while the Wildcats shot 32% from the field (20-62), including 14% from three (2-14). A deciding factor in the game was Northwestern getting to the line 26 times and converting on 19 of those tries. Purdue was only able to get to the line 9 times and hit 6 of their free throws.
Turnovers continue to be an issue for Sharon Versyp’s team as they coughed it up 18 times whereas Northwestern committed only 11 turnovers. The team will need to be better in this aspect of the game to get back to their winning ways.
With the loss, the Boilers fall to 11-6 overall and 2-3 in the loaded Big Ten. They will look to end their 3 game skid against Illinois who is 10-6 overall and 1-4 in the Big Ten on Thursday in Mackey Arena at 7:00pm.